Managing Email Deliverability: Simple & Best Practices

The email delivery landscape is constantly changing, heavily influenced by the proliferation of mobile devices and filters based on subscriber engagement.

By adapting to these industry changes, you’ll increase your ability to reach audiences and monetize digital messaging campaigns.

But managing deliverability can put even the most respected brand to the test. Government regulations, inconsistent Internet Service Provider (ISP) policies, emerging technologies, and changes in subscription behavior make it more complex.

As a result, one in six emails never make it to the inbox, go straight to the junk folder, or disappear completely.

So how can companies establish a clear approach to delivery?

Establish a positive sender reputation – the foundation for successful email delivery

ISPs can improve or destroy the sender’s reputation. Meeting their expectations will improve your deliverability and increase your response time.

ISPs are especially interested in protecting their users from junk e-mail, regardless of whether they sign up or not. Even if users provide their email addresses and request to receive messages, you can still experience delivery problems if few ISP users find your email valuable.

Dozens of elements contribute to your overall reputation with ISPs and directly affect whether ISP filters consider your message “good enough” to reach your inbox.

Public involvement with your emails is one of the most important measures ISPs use to determine your legitimacy as a sender. Focus on engagement by sending email content that your audience finds useful and desirable enough to interact with, on any device or platform, anywhere.

Customization also helps build your brand reputation. Making your communication more personal, with a more familiar or friendly tone, gives you the impression that you have built a real relationship with your audience and increases openness and response. Who among us doesn’t like to be called by name or provide information and offers that match our interests?

By using behavioral and web analytics to get better, more up-to-date audience data with each email campaign, you can segment and target future emails more accurately with timely, personalized, and relevant messages that increase engagement. Resist the temptation to repeat campaigns simply because they worked well; this can quickly lead to fatigue on the list.

Compliance with applicable laws – CAN – SPAM in the US and CASL in Canada, which require proper approval procedures and guidelines for email content and sending behavior – is another part of a positive sender reputation. Laws vary slightly from state to state and country to country, so please respect the laws of the state or country you are shipping to, regardless of where you are shipping.

Apply best-practices to optimize reach and response

Delivery is critical to the success of your email campaigns, so manage them proactively. Here are six simple best practices that can help you maximize your delivery potential:

  • Add safe channel links. Include a clear link in your email template and ask your audience to add your business address to their mailing list or secure address book. If they do, it’s a sure sign to an ISP that their email address needs to be searched and delivered to subscribers’ mailboxes.
  • Do not use a “no-reply” address for your marketing email. Instead, actively encourage recipients to respond to your messages. Evidence of an active email conversation with a sender sends a strong positive signal to ISPs, strengthening their reputation. Sorting responses can take time and effort, but can deliver great benefits in the form of better delivery.
  • Work with a delivery expert to come up with a solid delivery strategy. Delivery is not just about reaching the letterbox. It’s about making sure you reach as many recipients as possible while maintaining the optimal inbox. An experienced delivery consultant can often develop a strategy to double the net response.
  • Prepare clear expectations. Recipients respond much more positively to emails they expect to receive from a sender they recognize. If you don’t have a relationship with recipients before sending an email, you’re more likely to block and filter spam.
  • Give recipients control with preference centers. A preference center allows subscribers to manage and personalize the content they receive from you. It’s also a great way to learn about your audience’s interests. Preferred centers allow you to send targeted email campaigns, increasing the chances of your emails being opened.
  • Optimize mobile email. The vast majority of emails are only opened once, meaning the first impression you make is likely to be your last. Yet only a third of content (PDF) publishers say their emails are completely mobile-friendly. As an increasing proportion of email is opened on mobile devices, messages need to be optimized for reading on a wide variety of mobile screens.

Managing and optimizing email delivery takes a lot of time and energy, especially if you don’t work with an email service provider (ESP).

To ensure your efforts are consistently rewarded, measure your deliverability, learn how to compare, and create delivery strategies aimed at optimizing performanc